Fewer paychecks due to government shutdown affectecting Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma

TULSA - Federal agencies serving Green Country are starting to prepare for the possible effects of the government shutdown.

The local food bank is preparing for the increased demands from fewer paychecks reaching families in the Tulsa area.

The Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma has been forced to dip into funds to buy food due to low monetary and food donations.

The bank is purchasing nearly 13 percent of the food distributed, an increase of about 6 percent since 2008.

The shutdown is threatening federal funds, money the food bank counts on for emergency food pantries.

Another month of disruption could mean a delay in funds from the USDA Emergency Food Assistance Program, which supplies food distributed to people at places like the Iron Gate and the Salvation Army.

Officials say the impact could be felt into the summer.

"We know that more families could be coming to look for food assistance because they might not be getting a paycheck because they are furloughed.  Unfortunately their bills are still due.  So it's going to affect our  networks, could be significantly," said Community and Marketing Manager Maggie Hoey.

The food bank serves 275,000 meals a week in 24 counties in eastern Oklahoma.

Hoey says just $1 can help serve four meals.

The shutdown will also affect WIC services if it continues until next week. The federal food program provides services for  Women, Infants & Children. State program directors say they have funds until the end of the month.

WIC maybe forced to pull back funding and provide services to the most vulnerable. Staff at the Food Bank say this could push families to seek help at local pantries.

If you would like to donate, call 918-936-4556.

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